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Yemen: Houthi's missile launch and Saudi allies' air strike shake truce


English News
English News

A Saudi-led military coalition said it intercepted a missile fired in Yemen on Tuesday and residents said an air strike by the alliance killed and wounded eight civilians, straining a civil war ceasefire.
The ballistic missile was fired toward the central city of Marib, which is controlled by Saudi-backed government forces, but was intercepted and destroyed along with the source of the launch, the coalition said in a statement without elaborating.
Saudi state television reported on Tuesday that a ballistic missile was fired in Yemen toward Marib, a city near the capital, Sanaa. The state TV report said the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen "confronted" the missile and it was destroyed. It did not elaborate.
The Houthis and allied troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh are known to have a stockpile of Soviet-era Scud missiles. Several have been fired in the conflict toward Saudi Arabia.
This was at least the third missile launch since United Nations-brokered peace talks began in Kuwait in April between the Houthis and the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
Saudi Arabia has deployed Patriot missile batteries to counter tactical ballistic missiles which have been fired occasionally during the war.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies intervened in a civil war in March 2015 on behalf of the internationally backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the Iran-allied Houthi group, which controls the capital Sanaa.
The alliance members fear the movement is a proxy for their arch-rivals in Tehran and have launched thousands of air strikes in a bid to defeat them.
Peace talks in Kuwait between the government and Houthis have dragged on for two months with few concrete results, while a truce has dampened fighting that killed at least 6,400 people and plunged impoverished Yemen into a humanitarian crisis.
But residents in a mountainous area of Lahj province said a Saudi-led air strike late on Monday targeted Houthi forces who advanced into the area the day before.
The strategic Jalis mountain area is near al-Anad, a major military and air base that once hosted U.S. counterterrorism forces deployed to fight Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
In the town of Jaar, about 60 km (40 miles) east of Anad, residents said AQAP fighters mobilized at the local prison and freed several inmates.
The militants took advantage of wartime chaos to seize a broad swath of the country but pulled out of Jaar without a fight in May as part of a deal with local tribesmen.
The UN says more than 6,400 people have been killed in Yemen since March last year, the majority of them civilians.
Fighting has driven 2.8 million people from their homes and left more than 80 percent of the population needing humanitarian aid.

Source: Reuters, AP, AFP,  21 June 2016